Cruise on Celebrity Solstice Caribbean 2009[Updated 1st August, 2011]
We have encoutered the advantage of booking cruise and flights with Celebrity as on a number of ocasions now weather/aircraft delays have effected our travel to join several ships. On the last ocasion we arrived so late for muster drill we had to attend a session with the safety officer the following morning.
This review had become part of the the Solstice Rolling review meaning you had to scroll past all the images of the new ships to see it, this revised version eliminates this.
On all Solstice class shipsthe requirement to wear your lifejacket has been dropped and you now proceed to muster stations to view a new style video presentation. The reason for the change was on safety gorunds as people going to and from the muster stations have tripped on their or others straps. We sailed on Century in September 2009 and muster drill there was with the life belts - but a smaller ship and this appears to be current practise for them. On Millennium cruise in 2010 it was muster drill without the jackets.
Our stateroom 9261 on Solstice April, 2009 Stateroom doors open out cutting down on corridor noise
The stateroom we were in was 9261 and despite only being 3 sqft larger than the Millennium class ships the design and layout gives a very much roomier appearance. There was plenty of hanging space for all my wife’s outfits, the beds are higher than normal so some items could be left in the suitcases placed under the bed and there is ample room to store four there and given there is a large double storage unit above the bed, we had no problems. Some rooms the bed is next to the window but in ours it was the sofa and what a whopper at least a 3/4 people one, bigger than we have ever had on any other Celebrity ship. and for those who can order breakfast in your room the menu list is not as extensive as it was, I miss my prunes. The shower cubicle has a fixed head about 7 feet of the ground, being fixed many did not like the arrangement and for ladies there is a bar to rest their foot on whilst shaving their legs.
The safe on Solstice was located in the clothes cupboard but on Equinox it has been moved to the small cupboard above the mini bar. Also located in this unit is the hair dryer an Ali Seo Pro Vario, my wife said if she had needed to dry her hair it would have been great. The 110/230v power sockets are mounted on the right top side of this unit.
The television was IT based so like a computer it does not come to life at the push of a button but we did notice the heat emitted from the screen was very high. The contents of your minibar contained Red Bull Energy /Diet Drink $5; Miniatures of Dewars WhiteWite Label $6; Remy Martini VSOP $8.5; Vincent Van Gogh Gin/Voadka/Souvenir bottles $7; Bacardi Rum Light $6; Chardona La Crema Sonoma [375ml] $19; Caberent Sauvignon Kendll Jackson [37.5ml] both $19;Dos Equis/Coors Light/Heineken $5; Coco Cola/Diet Coke/Sprite/Ginger Ale/Tonic Water all $2; Evian Large $4 plus small $2.50 M&M Chocolates $2; Cheese Crunch/Peanuts both $2.5 plus the usual 15% on all the items.
and not to forget some of the lovely floral arrangements we had in the Stateroom over the 14 day cruise
The toilet with its own shower cabinet was a big disappointment for my wife as the shower head was fixed although it pivoted, she prefers the type you can remove and direct where you want to use it. There is no cord for drying the few odds and ends, but the shower cabinet has a 2” gap between its top and the roof so options are available to those resourceful cruisers.
We did find the hot water very hot so take care but even in the bathroom there was plenty of small storage places. The power socket whilst two pin did not accept my shaver two pin plug so I just used the adaptor and the 220v socket in the room. We pre-booked wine and when we arrived the bottles were in the room, on the first night we put the first bottle in the minibar fridge to cool it thereafter we took the next nights wine down on the night before clearly marked with our staterooom and table number and it all worked out very well. We also prepaid our gratuities and being concierge class it amounted to $12 per person per day or $334,but the prepaid cost was only £154.96 so we did make a reasonable saving, so worthy of consideration.
the final fixing point for my temporary washing line
There was no normal cable to pull out for hanging small items you might was daily, so we had to improvise by using the hook in the cubicle over the top where there was a good 3 inch gap between the top of the cubicle and the roof and down to a handle on one of the doors
The balcony can be opened up by asking your stateroom attendant giving you a larger area to share with your friends in the next stateroom but not an option if you were not sharing. I did look at the clip which would hold the panel when it was open and it might not sufficient if during the night the winds got up it might rattle.
The lock that holds the partition in place and the clip to hold the door when it open
[Note this lock position has been moved as off 2011]
The view of the ship's Atrium withe the tree growing in the middle
Various views of the lift complex including the Library
Now for some view about the ship:
A beautiful view inside the Solstice theatre
Pipes and drums play during Equinox Naming High wire acrobatics and if going to such a show Ceremony 28th July, 2009 then upstairs is best as the artists come right out into the area above the guests belows, saves a sore neck looking up at them - quite spectacular to see
The Oceanview Cafe with its Food stations as I refer to them, much roomer and not so many queues as with the system used on Century and Millennium class ships with each station offering something different.
In the coming few years all Millennium class ships will be fitted out with this new arrangment starting of with Constellation in April, 2010.
Ensemble Lounge our favourite Cafe here we met JimReeves and VinRoy our two favourite bar staff
Cellar Masters for some wine tasting
Martini bar Deck 4 with the curtined of Casino where we didn't win a fortune sections and here it was Vergina who was great
Bistro on Five
Main Diningroom click on this image to see a larger image
Murano restuarant very popular Blu for use by Aqua guests and others
The Silk Harvest restuarent only on Solstice and Equinox
Passport Bar Deck 3
Aqua Spa Cafe
Quaser Night Club
Prior to the start of the 1st and 2nd dinner sittings the Passport Bar on Deck 3 and the Martini Bar on Deck 4 are extremely busy as they are located immediately opposite the main entrance doors into the diningroom, even more so on the formal nights
Silk Harvest restuarant featured above is to be replaced on future ships
Created by Celebrity’s Vice President of Culinary Operations, Chef Jacques Van Staden, Qsine will offer guests contemporary favourites and a modern take on familiar dishes from around the world. Van Staden commented, “Our guests love new and different dining experiences, and we’ve designed Qsine to deliver that in a big way.
Qsine is designed to offer a globally influenced blend of nostalgic and contemporary favourites, artfully presented with elements of surprise.” Qsine’s menu – a large, backlit square filled with words and phrases designed to engage guests in the experience – implies that Qsine is an unusual place.
And the cuisine makes it clear, with most of the selections so unique that nearly all of the dishes and plating have been designed exclusively for Celebrity Cruises.
The menu includes offerings such as spring rolls nestled in vertical springs, “Sushi Lollipops”, Nigiri sushi with soy centre was mayonnaise and pickled ginger-radish salad, “Meatball Trilogy”, Kobe beef with cheddar and marinara sauce; veal with mushrooms and marsala sauce; and turkey with cranberry and sage gravy, “Chitinis” (Chinese selections served in martini glasses), “Tresviche” (tiger shrimp and bay scallops with lemon juice, tequila, cilantro, tomatoes and jalapeno oil), “Popcorn Fish & Chips” (Boddington’s-battered codfish and chips served with malt vinegar or aioli), “Slider Party” mini-grilled Kobe beef patties with aged Wisconsin cheddar served on brioche buns with “Qsine’s original slider sauce” and garnishes), “Taco Royale Black Angus sirloin steak, homemade taco shells, caramelized onion-poblano,and do-it-yourself fresh guacamole, with a stone mortar and pestle), and “Lava Crab” (Alaskan King crab, sweet yellow corn and scallions with Hataifi and Old Bay sauce, served in glasses over heated red stones).
The desserts menu is presented in a hinged, twistable cube menu and included dishes such as candied apples, popcorn and individual cookie jars.“Qsine is designed to surprise our guests with uniquely unordinary dishes, innovative presentations and engaging experiences,” said Van Staden. “It’s designed to allow them to share with each other, sample several different selections, and simply experience both new and favourite foods in an entirely fun and unexpected way.” Qsine will be open each night onboard.
CelebrityCruises Celebrity Eclipse between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. Cover charge is $30 per person.
There are no age restrictions for dining in Qsine, and the dress code is smart casual and above.
Celebrity Eclipse iLounge
The iLounge is composed of three main areas: a series of 26 workstations where guests can check their email, or print boarding passes; a retail space offering cruisers the opportunity to see and try out the latest MacBooks®, iPods® and accessories; and an enrichment centre where staff will offer guests tips on Mac or iPod usage.“Our new Celebrity iLounge is a direct expansion of our new ‘Designed for you’ brand platform, and our commitment to listen to our guests and offer experiences expressly designed for them” said Celebrity Cruise’s President and CEO Dan Hanrahan. “Our surveys show that our guests rely heavily on the Internet for research, learning and staying in touch, so we think this new offering will be a big hit, as will the contemporary online classes offered through the ‘Discover’ series of our inspiring and enriching ‘Celebrity Life’ experiences.” The iLounge will offer a series of engaging new courses designed to suit its guests’ interests – including do-it-yourself photo books, movie editing and web design, through programmes including iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and iWeb, and whether guests are savvy or novice users of Mac or iPod products, Celebrity Cruises certified staff will be well-equipped to assist, following more than 125 hours of training in operating systems, applications and products. Guests eager to expand their collection of merchandise will also find the Celebrity iLounge an enticing venue.
As an authorized Apple reseller, Celebrity Cruises will have products available for guests to purchase, including iPods, MacBooks and essential accessories.
Located on deck six of Celebrity Eclipse, the Celebrity iLounge will house the 26 MacBook Pro’s, classroom and retail area, in addition to display pods, a 56-inch flat-screen TV for use during classes and an accessible workstation.
more views out and about
The Glass workshop daily exhibitions The Grass, anyone for putting
Grass Cutting in Progress
Looking down on Deck 12 Deck 14
Swimming pool area Deck 12 with the kids jet spray Deck 14 sunbathing area and the view of both Decks 12 and 14
Deck 12 with the special sunbed cubicles Towels stackes and at the ready............
On the Equinox Deck 12 was widened to allow for more sunbeads
Someone raised a query on wheelchair availability on the Celebrity ships see details here
We also pre-booked a wine package of six wines selected from the website and also a litre of gin and one of Myers rum. The wine package was great value the spirits were not so good but we were aware now that all the air lines are making you pay an excess and if we had put spirits in the case it would have added to that excess.The much more limited wine/spirits package website others have requested can be viewed here
Celebrity Pre-book prices including soda package
The food as always was excellent and well presented as always, I am a great favourite of the menu on the left page which covers items available on any evening if you don’t find a choice you liked from that evenings menu. I love the shrimps; the Atlantic salmon and the New York steak to mention a few so I did from time to time use these options.
We did find four of the five areas for the smokers, the Sky lounge port side [inside] the Mast bar; at Deck 5 beside the Captains Club office and finally the swimming pool area also on the port side so as my wife smoked we did visit the Sky lounge frequently and met some great guests..
Celebrity do treat the 'Electronic cigarette' with the same restrications as the normal cigarette
Elite members receive an extra card to allow exclusive access to Michael’s Club between 8.30 to 10.30a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. unless the number of Elite members is such, then elsewhere will be used.
Laundry Dress $5.50 or Dry clean $6.00; Gents trousers $3.75 and Dry clean $4 which compares favourably with the price we pay at home for trousers via the dry cleaning process. Ladies slacks $3.25 and $4.50 Dry cleaned, there is quite a list but these are a few sample prices. [Prices quoted are 2009]
There was a medical emergency on the Thursday night of the 2nd week and the ship had to divert to Puerto Rico for the guest to be transferred to hospital and and it looked on the Friday that we would now be missing the next island and going straight back to Fort Lauderdale but the Captain announced we were in fact heading for Nassau and that this would be Solstice's inaugural visit to this island
So the Solstice berthed in Nassau and extreme left Millennium in the background departing
Morning Sunrise, packed and ready to head for home until the next cruise
Now some we already know on the `Eclipse the introduction of more British and Indian food on the new ship but also there is to be a new West End tribute show, Ovations, will feature songs from We Will Rock You and Les Miserables.There will be a Union Jack party with darts games; and the Sky Lounge will become the Sky Pubon selected nights and serve British beers.
British chefs will offer on-board demonstrationsthere will be kettles in all cabins and BBC Prime and Sky News will be available on the TV. It is believed in one restuarant there will be on the menu steak and kidney plus cod and chips, some like the ideas above some don't but obviously with Eclipse sailing out of Southampton they are trying a more British theme as one person commented though when are they introducing deck chairs !!